Epiphone Zakk Wylde Les Paul
There is a sizeable pool of Gibson devotees everywhere (regardless if they own one) who look up to the Epiphone copies simply because the latter brand name was commissioned to propel Gibson`s distinction. Through personal experiences, we often note that many Epiphone solid body makes contain blatant inadequacies (intended or otherwise) which often demerit the manufacturer`s goodwill. This write-up isn`t about rallying Epiphone dissent, instead it attempts to address matters pertaining to a guitar`s forte/ deficiencies which constitute an appreciation process. Ready?
Construction/ fit/ finish
Gibson`s meticulous finish often leaves an auditioning shopper awe-struck due to its organic nature & sheer class. The Zakk Wylde LP in question suffers from a lackluster finish but in due fairness, it wasn`t meant to impress in this department considering the economic philosophy of the brand name. On a similar note, it is clear that the finishing process employ a masking method of sorts as there is a clear demarcation of finished & unfinished areas- if you don`t already know, this LP is one of the very few models to feature a bare neck rear. The issue here is the lack of meticulous completion; there are marks of sloppy slip-offs & smudges in the areas of the headstock & body-neck joint.
Nevertheless, the fittings, be it the woodwork or the hardware are superb, less the input jack which is a little loose.
As stated above, the immediate difference between this LP & others in its family is the bare neck rear. This is definitely a bold departure from the Gibson tradition but a worthy playability enhancement, not being a cosmetic make over per se. It`s an open invitation for non-Epiphone fans to try out this guitar. As this model is an adaptation of a Gibson Custom, the neck profile remains substantially chunky in all registers. Fortunately, the jumbo frets here make playing effective, despite the early onset of lethargy (for most of us, not all).
Ardent Wylde fans will be upset to know that the twin humbuckers featured here are EMG`s passive models, the HZ (H4). The overall voicing predictably departs from the super raunchy tones of a typical active unit. Surprisingly, these are the very darlings of this guitar as they keep excessive top end responses in check while not sounding too generic. The HZ pickups deliver outgoing driven tones very well while manifesting more than adequate bottom end to appease bass-note peddlers out there. The guitar is then detuned intentionally to assess its darker, deeper voicings- it passes with merit.
The overall mass of this guitar is acceptable both sitting down & strapped on but inclines towards the hefty side. Despite the manufacturer`s specification of a mahogany body, it isn`t as massive as its Gibson counterpart, which leaves us wondering whether there is actually a mahagony material beneath that `bull`s eye` finish. There are countless Epiphone LPs which feature alternative body wood types despite the catalogue`s claim of being preferably mahogany, but let`s give this guitar the benefit of the doubt.
Should you buy a Zakk Wylde guitar? No, you shouldn`t. If you do, you are satiating your personal adoration for the player, whose product association very much dictates the (excessive) price of this guitar. Considering that this guitar is a wholesome player, the correct proposal should be: Should you invest in this guitar?
This reviewer is of the opinion that it is a worthy investment & should be deemed a reputable guitar per se & not because it`s a good product by virtue of the endorser`s backing. Let`s hope that there will be subsequent Epiphone models that feature a maple neck like the one fitted to this LP. It`s contribution to tonal clarity is rather influential.
Buyers who wish for a faithful Epiphone recreation of a Gibson make should not despair with the compromises manifested by the former brand name; it`s primarily about cost cutting. However, it is assuring to know that Zakk Wylde actually plays this Epiphone version & found its performance on par with his wants.
Have fun and I hope you've found this guide useful. If you've learned something or you have further clarifications, feel free to drop us an email. We'll love to hear from you!
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